This small, family-run restaurant in a rustic converted house on the edge of Sandy Hill offers authentic Ethiopian dining and a peaceful, casual ... More
Horn of Africa (The)
This small, family-run restaurant in a rustic converted house on the edge of Sandy Hill offers authentic Ethiopian dining and a peaceful, casual atmosphere. Fans of African food come here to enjoy a meal in the soothing green dining room or on the tiny street-side veranda. The menu is strong on vegetarian food, and large platters offer an excellent sampling of Ethiopian cuisine. Those new to Ethiopian dining should note that the restaurant's thick white dipping breads can be extremely filling. The restaurant also offers traditional Ethiopian coffee and requires large groups to reserve their coffee a day in advance.
What are all you people talking about? This is not even 'ok' Ethiopian food.
By A Yahoo! Contributor, 8/27/08
Being in Ottawa for a couple of days and having read many positive reviews of this place, wanted to give it a try.
First off, they were out of the ingredients for Kitfo, which is primarily what I went for.
So, we ordered the Abyssinian Platter (should be Abysmal Platter) and some Lamb Tibbs type of dish (#5 on the menu I think).
Injera was a bit stale, still soft enough to tear but definitely long in the tooth.
Asked for some berbere sauce or powder on the side, they didn't have any.
How can an Ethiopian restaurant not have berbere?
It would be like asking for butter in a French restaurant and being told they were out.
Anyhow, long and short is, too thick, too old injera, and various uninspired stews that were missing some of the key flavours that I have become used to getting in a variety of Ethiopian restaurants in Toronto and Montreal which I frequent regularly.
Service was ok, not great, but not bad.
My main issues were not the servers fault, but the lack of things that made my taste buds happy.
If this is the best Ethiopian in Ottawa, my heart goes out to the residents here.
The food is great and generous. For less than $7.50, I get a huge plate of vegetarian goodness, and though their English is not great, on a quiet day, I was shown how they make the pancakes. Whenever I am down, this food lifts me up. God bless the little gems in this city that I can consider a home away from my home!
Ahhh yes, whilst a student I made this lovely little place my choice place to dine. The prices are quite accomodating, but it is the food that impresses most. Truly exotic flavours, with unique combinations of meat, vegeterian, sauce dishes. Truly inspiring!
But, there is more. There is something beyond the food here. Picture this:
Hot summer day,a bead of sweet rolling down your brow. Sitting under a ceiling fan, sipping a Scotch, traditional Ethiopian music in the back ground, surrounded by the pale pastels and Horn decor. Then comes this large tray of something that looks quite different - you never saw food presented this way. No silverware of course, you are invited by the tribe. The taste . . . ahhhhhhh.
If you get this, then go. If you don't then stick with the Keg or some other place with silly things on the walls. Beware though, our little secret has become quite trendy as of late with those who think Merlot is a fine wine and need a difference for the sake of being fashionable - you'll see 'em! I hope this doesn't cause the introduction of higher prices or silverware or for a default Merlot.
I liked the quick service, authentic taste of curry, and large portion size. The only things I didn't like was the bread (which is more like a pancake - I prefer pita bread with curried sauces), and I found the curry slightly grainy but still enjoyable. I would highly recommend for the palate that likes exotic flavours!
I loved the food - they are licensed to sell alcohol too! The vegetarian selection was just wonderful. My husband and I were visiting from California and was so glad to see two Ethiopean Restaurants in Ottawa.
An excellent change from the usual and great value for the price. We had a platter with an assortment of items (the Abysinnian Platter) that was superb. A great mix of beef, lamb, chicken, and veg with a variety of spices and flavours. You eat with your hands and that's ok because it adds to the fun and experience. The price is right also. The platter we had was large and we still took some home, along with drinks it was less than $35 tip included. We ate on the patio which was probably not the best spot but it was still an enjoyable experience. Recommended!
The Horn of Africa is a local landmark, however I found it a disappointment. I was anxious to try it (again) after returning from spending 18 months living in Ethiopia. My spouse (who is Ethiopian) and I found the food overly spiced. Ethiopian food can be very spicy, however, not all of it should be. There are subtle flavours and textures that are missed when the platter is uniformly burning. If you like spicy, kind of funky, different and a central location, the Horn of Africa is nice - however there is a least one other Ethiopian restaurant in Ottawa that we've tried and infinitely prefer.
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